ARK: Survival Evolved releases paid DLC in Early Access

When you think that the game developers have thought of every possible way to monetize their content – something new comes in. And that’s the case with ARK: Survival Evolved. The creators of the game have decided to release a DLC content for… an Early-Access game! Something like that hasn’t been seen in the game industry yet. We’re guessing the developer might have been bitten by a radioactive EA employee.


Jokes aside, ARK: Survival Evolved as an Early-Access game is pretty fun to play and most of the players seem to enjoy it. Well, normally you would expect from a developers to finish Early-Access game by fixing all the bugs and glitches and expand the universe with a new DLC after that phase. But, they decided to do something different.  In a move that could set a potentially strange precedent for Early-Access titles, Studio Wildcard’s ARK: Survival Evolved, the popular dinosaur survival game, just got it’s first batch of a fully finished paid downloadable content.


At 20$/€ the new DLC pack is even more expensive than ARK: Survival Evolved itself, which right now, with 40% discount, costs 17,99$ / 16,79€. And all that before the main game is even finished with all bugs fixed!

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So, we have a new DLC to buy, which costs 20$/€ and, ironically, is called Scorched Earth. The question is: is this DLC really worth buying when the main game isn’t even ready for it’s prime-time yet? Let’s find out!

According to the DLC description, it puts players stranded naked, dehydrated & starving in a vast desert […] They have to use skills honed on ARK’s faraway Island to kill, tame, breed, and ride the fantastical new creatures that have evolved to survive the Desert’s ultra harsh conditions, including… DRAGONS! […].

The dragons part does sound pretty cool, but the rest of the new content – not so much. DLC itself doubles the amount of the content that you first had in a game. So, we have mixed opinion on this. It is great that they are expanding the game but at the same time, again, we feel like the game should be finished and fixed first before paid DLC is released. It’s definitely an unprecedented move in the gaming world and for a high-profile Early-Access title, and it might open the door to other games following in the ARK’s footsteps.

Fans of the game, as usually it happens on the internet, are spitting the rage in the STEAM reviews section. Overall the game is rated Mostly positive but in the last 24 hours the reviews changed to Mostly Negative, thanks to thousands of recent negative reviews. The are all kinds of colourful reviews, and some calling the DLC a total cash grab. Here is few of them which we mostly agree on (and a bonus one for a comedy relief).

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And then we have the people who actually bought the DLC and also leaving negative reviews. Like this one:


Interestingly enough, the reviews for the DLC are Very Positive,with 191 Negative reviews compared to 868 positive reviews, at the time of writing. It’s most likely partly because the haters seem to be focusing on the main game itself rather than on Scorched Earth. It could also be a sign that we’re dealing with a very vocal minority. Many of the positive reviews are encouraging to ignore the haters, arguing, that considering the amount of hours you get overall with ARK and that DLC (which doubles the amount of fun you get from the game) it’s worth it. In Laymen’s terms – you’re more than getting your money’s worth!  The publishers Studio Wildcard gave a similar opinion to Polygon stating that the game is giving you thousands of hours of always-updating content, which not many games do.

Okay, so they try to let us know how much of value we’re getting from all the extra content and it makes a lot of sense. About charging for DLC co-creative director and co-found Jesse Rapczak said “Some people might see that this is an Early Access title and we’re selling an expansion pack and they might have an ideological issue with that. I don’t think we’re ever going to please those people.” Damn!.. Though that’s kind of true with the internet.. He continues: “But what I would say to them is that this expansion pack represents much more closely the final look and feel and polish of the game. We’ve been working on it for a long time. We always planned to release it close to the launch of the game, so why sit on it? Let’s get it out there and let players enjoy it.”

In conclusion, we think that the game is really worth the money and the value it gives. It’s hard to argue with that.  But there is always a catch. Releasing a fully developed and paid DLC is a move that screws over people that are still waiting for the main game’s core features. And these were the people that helped fund its development. Trying to find more ways to get money out of them before you really finish the core game is not the best move to keep your fanbase happy. The big worry for players is that this title is setting a bad precedent for other developers who might start coming with more ways to grab your hard-worked cash before having finished their Early Access games.

So what do you think about ARK: Survival Evolved publishers charging extra for a DLC, while the game is still in Early-Access mode? Make sure to share with us in our comments section below or on our Facebook and Twitter!


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